News Releases

Sierra Pacific Seeks Rate Increase for California Customers

May 3, 2004

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Faye I. Andersen
Phone: (775)-834-4822

For Immediate Release

Sierra Pacific Power Company filed today with the California Public Utilities Commission to recover $8.3 million in costs for fuel and power purchased for its 45,000 California customers. The request is a dollar-for- dollar pass through to customers and does not result in a profit to the company.

The filing was made under the CPUC's Energy Cost Adjustment Clause (ECAC), which was re-instated by the CPUC in January 2004, following the repeal of electric deregulation efforts in the state. ECAC allows utilities to recover the costs of fuel and power purchased on behalf of its customers, with no mark-up by the utility. Prior to a freeze on utility rates in 1996 in preparation for deregulation in California, utilities made ECAC filings with the CPUC on an annual basis.

"Wholesale energy prices have continued to climb over the past year and are forecast to continue their upward spiral for the year ahead," said Mary Simmons, vice president of rates and regulation for Sierra Pacific."We do everything we can to get the best prices for our customers, but the raw fuels to make electricity , or even the costs of purchasing power on the wholesale market, are continuing to rise, while supplies are starting to tighten for this next year."

Simmons went on to explain that Sierra Pacific's rates were frozen in 1996 at about one-half of the rate the typical Californian paid for electricity elsewhere in the state. The company was granted approval by the CPUC to increase its rates in stair-step fashion over 2002 and 2003, bringing the average rate closer to the actual cost of providing electric service. However, the current rate is still about one-third less than the rates charged by the state's largest utilities.

If approved, today's request could raise the typical residential monthly electric bill for a customer using 650 kilowatt hours of electricity by $9.33, or 13.9 percent. The overall increase requested for all classes of customers is 14.8 percent.

The CPUC is expected to conduct hearings into Sierra Pacific's request, and a decision could be made by fall 2004.

Approximately 80 percent of Sierra Pacific's California customers reside in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The company's California service area extends from Portola in the north to Markleeville and Topaz Lake to Coleville in the south. Sierra Pacific has approximately 275,000 customers in northern Nevada.

Headquartered in Nevada, Sierra Pacific Resources is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries are Nevada Power Company, the electric utility for most of southern Nevada, and Sierra Pacific Power Company, the electric utility for most of northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California. Sierra Pacific Power Company also distributes natural gas in the Reno- Sparks area of northern Nevada. Other subsidiaries include the Tuscarora Gas Pipeline Company, which owns 50 percent interest in an interstate natural gas transmission partnership and several unregulated energy services companies.

Current Typical Residential Rates Per kWh based on 650 kWh

UtilityCents per kWH
San Diego Gas and Electric14.72
Southern California Edison12.64
Pacific Gas& Electric (San Jose)12.77
Lassen Municipal Utility District12.04
Truckee Donner Public Utility District


Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative10.70
Sierra Pacific– California10.31
Sierra Pacific– Nevada10.44
Sacramento Municipal Utilities District8.88
PacificCorp– California8.55

California Residential Rates per
kWh Sierra Pacific Power Company


# # #